Sunday, 25 November 2012

wishlist #5

1. treggings, Topshop.
2. t-shirt, Tee and Cake at Topshop.
3. large jar candle, Yankee Candle.
4. Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask, Ren.
5. hat, Topshop.
6. nail polish in "Crown Me Already, OPI.

This month feels like it's been the longest of the year. I've been so busy with work and college assignments and so I'm itching for payday to treat myself. these amazing trousers/leggings are currently top of my most coveted list. What's on yours?

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Créme

Jemma Kidd Make Up School Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Créme in 'Iced Gold' (... Phew!), €20.42 from Beauty Bay.

When it was announced that Jemma Kidd Make Up School went into administration some weeks ago, I hastily relocated her cult 'Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Créme' from it's long-term home of 'wishlist' to 'basket'. Highlighter is something I'm just not bothered with and so this sat idle in wishlists across online department stores for months. Since purchasing this, however, I haven't looked back.
Dewy Glow All over Radiance Créme can be used opaquely for a full-on Hollywood glamour highlight, or subtly blended out with your foundation brush to lift the high points of the face. I like to use this with a MAC 188 or the Real Techniques Stippling Brush. It also works beautifully as an inner corner or brow-bone highlight. The main reason this trumps all the other highlighters in my collection is the subtleness. It's not glittery, and adds a sheen rather than a shimmer. Paired with the perfect contour colour I can achieve actual cheekbones with this product! It achieves a more natural look than, for example, my MAC Cream Colour Base in 'Pearl'. The packaging is gorgeous also; the sleek black rubber of Nars that I love so much, in a super slim compact with a massive mirror.
This Holy Grail of highlighters is still available from places like the FeelUnique outlet, and on Beauty Bay, and I even spied some Jemma Kidd products in TK Maxx the other day. If this is a purchase you've been contemplating for a while now, take the plunge, you won't regret it.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

NOTD: festive glitter

Nails Inc 'Porchester Square', Nicole for OPI 'Rainbow in the S-Kylie' (both available from ASOS)

A nail combo I loved last winter was OPI 'Steady As She Rose' with this multicoloured glitter topcoat. This year it's a slightly more grown-up 'Porchester Square' with an accent finger of rainbow glitter. I haven't been able to stop staring at my nails since I laquered on this combo a few days ago. I find Nails Inc polishes wear reasonably well but strangely enough they last longer when I don't use a topcoat. Please excuse some slight tip-wear on my index finger! While 'Porchester Square' is a relatively unique shade, these rainbow glitter topcoats are everywhere now and you can get some really amazing variations from Essence and Models Own for a fraction of the price of an OPI or Deborah Lippman polish. For me this is the perfect winter polish combination - the nude goes really well with the burgundy and oxblood shades that are everywhere these days and the rainbow glitter is so festive! I'm tempted to go ahead and apply glitter to every nail!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The New Matte Lipsticks: Kate Moss for Rimmel

Kate Moss for Rimmel Matte lipstick in 107, €6.95 from Boots and other Rimmel stockists.

Although I mentioned Revlon's Wine Not lipstick in my last post, I have to admit I was on the hunt for a replacement. The colour is beautiful but the finish was hugely lacking - it was uncomfortable to wear being one of the 'old generation' mattes which left your lips dry and the colour patchy. However, the quality of this lipstick from Kate Moss' new range of mattes for Rimmel surpasses all the other mattes in my collection. The finish is beautifully velvety and comfortable as well as long lasting with a matte finish. I wore this to work yesterday and didn't need to top up once during the day whereas even with my MAC mattes go dry and uncomfortable at the corners of my mouth and need to be topped up throughout the day.
The colour is stunning and perfectly seasonal; I expect that I'll be wearing this throughout the colder months this year. In the above photo I wore it with an extremely simple everyday look but I think that the colour could be paired with a subtle smokey eye for an evening look - or even with a heavier eye: a burgundy lip with a dark eye is a look that the beautiful Zara wears so well in her latest video. One of my ultimate favourite bloggers Anna has also showcased this shade in an evening makeup post and it looks amazing with her simple makeup.
Other points to make - it is heavily scented but the artificial cherry-watermelon scent doesn't linger for too long. I'm not the biggest fan of the packaging but that's just down to personal taste and I usually favour more sleek black packaging in my cosmetics. By Rimmel's standard though, it's ok and it's certainly not the garish shiny purple of their Moisture Renew lipsticks.
The best part about this lipstick however, is the price. While a shade such as Diva by MAC would set you back by €18, Rimmel's offering are just €6.95. And that's not to say that's the price you have to pay for it. I picked mine up in a local chemist where they were doing an introductory price of €4.95 (always look out for these as most 'drugstore' cosmetics brands do them). Boots do 10% discount for holders of a Student Travelcard (in Ireland that is - I can't speak for the UK) and they currently have 3 for 2 across all cosmetics so it's an excuse to treat yourself! And finally, ASOS are selling them for the slightly higher price of €7.04 but are currently offering 10% with the code MEGA10. So everyone can get their hands on one of these amazing lipsticks!

Have you tried any of the Kate Moss matte lipsticks yet? Will you be interested in trying this after my review? Please let me know! xx

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

four lipsticks for autumn

(L-R: MAC Satin lipstick in Brave, Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick in Wine Not, 17 Lasting Finish lipstick in New Black, ELF Studio Matte Lip Colour in Natural.)

Continuing with my autumn series I bring you some lipsticks I'm looking forward to wearing this autumn/winter! Once again there is an obvious pattern and I realise now that they all look very similar! In keeping with traditional winter beauty trends I love to wear a dark berry lip during the colder seasons, but on days where I don't feel like a high-maintenance lipstick I'll be turning to sophisticated mauve toned nudes.

MAC Brave is a lipstick that I got a lot of wear out of when I bought it but felt it was a bit harsh for during the summer months. This autumn I think it'll look beautiful with a subtle smokey eye for daytime or even at night with a gloss over the top. It's a great nude for darker skins but on me it pulls the way MAC Taupe would on a darker skintone.

Revlon Wine Not is unfortunately not available in the UK and Ireland but I got mine on eBay so maybe try there! If not, I'm sure you could find a similar shade by MAC. It's a gorgeous deep red, unsurprisingly a wine shade. However the formula is quite uncomfortable and is more drying than other Revlon matte lipsticks I own so I usually put a layer of balm over the top (my balm of choice is Nuxe Reve de Miel to keep the finish matte yet hydrated).

This 17 lipstick is an amazing dark purple shade that takes balls to wear! I prefer this one for night time or even mixed with the Revlon lipstick as it is quite dark for daytime when I'm feeling a bit too shy to rock the gothic look! The formula of this lipstick is beautiful and really comfortable to wear - and it's a bargain.

A decent dupe for MAC Brave is this ELF lip colour (Available from the Studio line on the ELF website). It's slightly lighter and it is a bit more subtle on my skintone. To me this is the perfect nude and this is the second one I've purchased. It has a sugary sweet taste and unsurprisingly a matte finish.

I'll definitely be doing another post on winter lip shades in the coming months as lipstick is one of my favourite beauty products ever! If you have any beautiful autumnal lipsticks please leave your recommendations for me! :) thanks for reading xxx

Sunday, 23 September 2012

autumn series: nails

(L-R: Nails Inc 'Porchester Square', Essie 'Playa Del Platinum', Essie 'Cocktail Bling', Barry M 'Raspberry', Barry M 'Red/Black', Models Own 'Red N Black')

Honestly, how crappy was this summer? I can't speak for everyone but here in Ireland it was sticky and humid and pissing rain. Every day. Summer colours were inappropriate but so were winter colours. I can't have been the only one who was totally stuck in a rut and frankly, dying for autumn. In celebration of its long-awaited arrival I'm going to do a series on a few of my picks from my collection of what I'll be wearing this autumn; starting with nails and continuing with lips, base & eyes, clothes and finally culminating in a wishlist. First port of call is nails and while my nails truthfully look like shit (I'm back in college so it would seem that naughty stress-induced nail-biting has resumed) and are being given a strong dose of Nail Envy these are the colours I'm looking forward to wearing throughout autumn/winter 2012.

Nudes and winter pastels are always going to be a favourite of mine because more than anything they look really beautiful in the bottle. I recently purchased the Special Edition Jubilee bottle of Nails Inc's hero shade 'Porchester Square' after coveting it for months. While the glam lid is arguably the best thing about this polish it truly is a beautiful shade and has fast become one of my favourites in my collection. It's the closest to Chanel's 'Frenzy' I can afford and it's just the perfect taupey-lavendery-nudey colour.
Essie 'Playa Del Platinum' is a shade I never, ever hear about. It's quite easily duped in OPI 'Did you 'ear about Van Gogh?' and Models Own 'Concrete Mixer' (I have both - d'oh) so if those brands are your preferences or are more accessible to you then that's where you'll find this shade. It's just a nice beige-nude that looks a bit like concrete but..prettier.
Finally Essie's 'Cocktail Bling' from last years winter collection is a stunning muted pastel blue with grey undertones. It's not the most flattering on my skintone but I wear it anyway and just find it to be a really beautiful, elegant shade. As I've stated before I don't buy Essie from Boots but from eBay and my seller of choice can be found here.

When I'm not doing pretty muted colours I'll be going for sophisticated yet vampy shades (you'll see a pattern emerging in my lipsticks post!). I find high-street brands (as in those found in Boots) are great for shades like this and you don't need to spend silly amounts on a red polish from OPI or whoever.
Barry M's 'Raspberry' shade is a beautiful, bright Christmassy red. It has no orange undertones whatsoever and pulls a little plum in some lights, making it perfect for this season. Formula is ok but nothing stand-out as is usually the situation with Barry M but the polishes are cheap as chips and the colour selection is great.
'Red/Black' also by Barry M is a shade that I wore throughout winter last year, constantly painting and repainting my nails with this famous Chanel dupe. It looks black in the photo but on the nails it's just really a very dark wine shade and it really flattering against my pale skin.
Finally, my black of choice is Models Own 'Red n Black'. I initially bought this hoping for a better quality version of the Barry M shade but was slightly disappointed to find that it applies nearly jet black and not the rich burgundy shade I expected. However it is slightly warmer than the traditional black nail polishes which I rocked in my emo days and it is a lot more forgiving on the hands. It also looks quite good in times like now when my nails are shitty and short.

So what nail polishes will you be wearing this A/W? I'm so excited to paint my nails these shades, get a big woolly jumper and a hot water bottle! x

Friday, 21 September 2012

my first Origins experience

Last night I was feeling a bit sorry for myself for being too unorganised to score tickets to the Caitlin Moran event in Dublin and finally purchased the Origins Drink Up Intensive mask. This is how about 98% of my purchases are made; I'm sad because I didn't do my homework for college, so I need a new lipstick, et cetera.
It was a bit of an impulsive purchase if I'm honest and I would normally plan and budget before spending thirty euro on a face mask, and originally I slipped into Arnotts (Which is a little like the Dublin version of Selfridges, I think) just to have a browse. I was eyeing up the Origins counter which was a little cramped as they had some sort of event on later that evening when I was approached by the sales assistant who was really excellent at her job. She was chatty, friendly, knowledgeable and, most importantly, not too pushy. I felt good about my purchase as I left the store, and still haven't felt the dreaded buyers remorse just yet (as one often does when spending THIRTY EURO on a face mask).

I was also given the chance to sample three of Origins bestsellers as they were running some sort of promotion (lovely sales lady said they do this every September and that my purchase was well-timed). So with the popping of my Origins cherry came three itsy-bitsy freebies for me to try out. I was given a list of ten products and told to choose three; I walked away with 15mls of their famous VitaZing moisturiser, 7mls of Dr Weil for Origins Mega-Bright serum, and 5mls of GinZing eye cream. Success.

I tried out the mask for the first time last night, and I can confirm it is love at first sight, or first use. I applied quite liberally - maybe too liberally, a lot comes out when you squeeze the tube - but by morning my skin had, as promised, drunk up the moisture. My skin is now plump, juicy and glowing and my makeup has lasted beautifully throughout a day of running around trying to catch buses and not be late for lectures. Also, important to note, as always, that it smells beautiful, a really yummy apricot scent.
In terms of value for money, you get a whopping 100ml of product which will last you forever. That, coupled with the thoroughly enjoyable shopping experience and the dinky little samples makes a very happy customer. Thirty euro and sixty cent very well spent.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and I would love to hear any feedback. If you've tried out this mask or you have any other Origins product to recommend me I'd love to hear about them. Thanks so much for reading! x

Sunday, 9 September 2012

bad blogger

I can't believe it's been three weeks since I've posted here! The last month has been beyond hectic - my room has been ripped to shreds and we're currently putting it back together - new floors, walls, wardrobes, furniture, everything! It's hard work - then last week I braced myself and headed down to Stradbally in Laois for the Electric Picnic music festival. I think I'm a bit too boring for festivals and I definitely missed my home comforts down there but I'm glad I went as I couldn't have missed the bands playing. Then, with barely a night's sleep in between I jetted off to Paris for four days with four of my girlfriends. I am in love with Paris and I miss it already. I got back on Thursday but between working and shopping for university - I'm returning for my second year tomorrow - blogging has fallen by the wayside. I'm determined to change this, however. Hopefully semi-normal posting will resume during the week and will become more methodical as I work out the balance between college and my part time job. In beauty news - I managed to haul 1.5 litres of Bioderma whilst in France as well as some Caudalie goodies but nothing huge or majorly excited - maybe expect a post in the future about my opinions on French pharmacie skincare.

I'd love to hear any news you have or what you've all been up to - if you're starting back in school or college (here in Ireland that's what we call 'uni') let me know how you're feeling about it, I don't think I'm too happy to be returning to be honest! Also let me know if you were at Electric Picnic or just whatever comes into your mind after reading this post!

Sunday, 19 August 2012


Follow me on Instagram! @serenaelliott

(makeshift bedside table, sheer tights, sunny day, stupid amount of lip products in my bag, lunch, socks, my baby, nail polish, Ikea haul)

First and foremost I need to apologise for my lack of quality posting. My last post was a wishlist and before that I hadn't blogged in a week. I don't want to make any excuses for myself but life got in the way! I have wanted to start posting some photos showcasing an outfit or two but set-up for outfit posts is really important to me and I haven't got that figured out yet. Watch this space!
I won't be blogging properly for a few days and I wanted to warn the few of you that do click on every now and again. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and leave a comment! I'm currently decorating my bedroom and so the space which I usually have to take my blog photos is unavailable to me (see my first photo above in which I'm using a stepladder as a bedside table!). For now I've included a few photos from my Instagram account - I have only had Instagram about two months and I'm not the most prolific user of the app so some of these photos date back a few weeks - I just wanted to give an overview of my own Instagram account, in all of its stereotypical unoriginality. I'd love it if you followed me on Instagram as I'm only new to the craze and need some more people to follow there!
In other news I've been working quite a lot and my spare time has been spent shopping for wooden floors and painting my ceiling. I'm so excited for my room to be finished! I've lived in my current home about three years and my room hasn't really felt as though it's my own personal space so hopefully a bit of redecoration will change that! I'm also going on holidays in two weeks to Paris which cannot come any sooner - my heart truly belongs there!
Please let me know what you've been up to and thanks so much for bearing with me and not unfollowing! Any suggestions for future posts would be appreciated - I'm thinking about doing a daily makeup post as I got some really lovely comments on my Nars blusher post! Thanks again for your support :) xx

Thursday, 16 August 2012

wishlist #4

1. 'Jenna' dress, Monki.
2. black jumper, Topshop.
3. Sheer Glow foundation in 'Mont Blanc, Nars.
4. 4SS brush, Inglot.
5. Rouge Caresse lipstick in 'Dating Coral', L'Oreal.
6. nail polish in 'Tidal', Topshop.

Once again, sincere apologies for the lack of posts for the last week! Compiled  a quick wishlist - I have been obsessing over this Monki dress ever since I saw Meg's post! It's so beautiful and I'm on the hunt for something similar, I love loose flowy tshirt dresses right now but the high street doesn't seem to have any in stock?
What do you think of my most coveted items of this week?

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Nars Sex Appeal

Nars blusher in 'Sex Appeal', €29 from Nars counters or online.

My first purchase from Nars came in the form of one of their famously over-hyped powder blushes. I took the plunge when ASOS were running a 25% off discount code so the hefty price tag stung a little less! I originally wanted Douceur but it was sold out on ASOS so, not wanting one of their brighter shades (as I think it's easy to find dupes from Sleek or the like) I went for my second choice of Sex Appeal.
When it arrived I was surprised by how pale it is; it's actually quite similar to MAC's Hue lipstick which is a shade I've never seen before in a blusher. It's a difficult shade to capture on camera and its actually a bit lighter than it shows above. Nars describe it as a 'soft peach' and while that's not a wholly interesting description it is fairly accurate; it's a very muted colour and although it is pale it doesn't lack pigmentation. It has a matte finish and the texture is buttery soft.
I opt for Sex Appeal when I'm wearing a cool toned smokey eye or if I'm just having a minimal makeup day. It's not overpowering but it enhances beautifully and really lifts my complexion. Where usually I would go for a cool toned cheek - something like MAC Well Dressed or Cubic - the past few weeks I've constantly been reaching for Sex Appeal as I love the warmth it brings to my skin. It also goes beautifully with bronzed and contoured cheeks to add dimension.
Unfortunately Sex Appeal is not going to work for everyone. Due to the paleness I think it might come up ashy or not at all on darker skintones. While it's a pity that this is only going to work for the very fair skinned, I am grateful for this as I find it so hard to find blushers that will work for me! I would only recommend this to those with pale skin and I think any higher than a MAC NC/NW 25 might not be so suited to this beautiful blusher.

If you've tried this blusher (or anything else from Nars!) please let me know, and as usual I'd love to hear your opinions and recommendations! I'm a bit of a sucker for Nars and I'm currently trying out their Sheer Glow foundation (and loving it!); I'm also totally enamoured with their packaging!
Also, a side note, I've just watched Katie Taylor kick arse at the Olympic Boxing Lightweight finals - she was amazing and I'm so proud to be an Irish woman today! Let me know if you watched her win gold! x

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

hair oils

(L-R: Hask Argan Oil, Organix Renewing Morrocan Argan Oil, Biona Organic Coconut Oil)

For me, hair oils are an everyday essential. I've put my hair through hell and back with years of dying, everyday heat styling and bleaching the absolute shit out of it! My hair is now it's natural colour and I'm trying to encourage it to grow and repair itself. While it's in its awkward mid-length stage I'm refusing to cut the dead ends off and so hair oils are very necessary to coat the fried ends of my hair. While hair oils can be ludicrously expensive these three are my favourite budget hair oils - thanks to these three products I've never found the need to splash out on the original Morrocanoil.
Both Hask and Organix offerings are great for everyday use, I rub a small amount through the palms of my hands and then run it through the ends of my hair, then use whatever is left over to tame down and frizz near the roots of my hair (my hair is quite dry so I can afford to do this!). Each are really inexpensive and widely praised - I know fellow Irish blogger Julie uses the Hask oil (which is available in Penneys - or Primark if you're in the UK) and Lily has done a rave review of the Organix one.
However, for me the standout product is just plain and simple coconut oil. I was pushed to by this after Andrea made a video showing her homemade hair mask of coconut oil and eggs. While I don't think I could ever stomach putting eggs on my hair I love using coconut oil as a hair mask once a week. It makes my hair all over smooth and shiny and much healthier - my ends are still dry but that's just one of those things. I'm thinking about doing a separate post on how I use the coconut oil as a hair mask as it's made such a difference to my hair so let me know if that's something you'd like to see!

If you use a hair oil let me know which is your favourite as I'm always interested in trying new products which might resurrect my poor hair! I'd also like to apologise for my disappearance last weekend, I really want to keep to a schedule of blogging every second day but the sale started in work which didn't leave much time for blogging! I promise posting will be more regular from now on! :) x

Thursday, 2 August 2012

wishlist #3

1. 'Precious' dress, Monki.
2. Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching Serum, Caudalie.
3. cross bracelet, Fashionology.
4. khaki jumper, Topshop Boutique.
5. shopper bag, Zara.
6. matte lipstick in 'Diva', MAC.

Please let me know what you think of this wishlist post & if you have any of the items I'm lusting after this week! I desperately wish we had a Monki store here in Ireland! :( x

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

july empties

hair and shower empties: Lee Stafford Hair Growth conditioner, Rituals Yogi Flow shower gel, Lee Stafford My Big Fat Healthy Hair shampoo, Lee Stafford Hair Growth treatment

beauty empties: Collection Lasting Perfection concealer in 'Fair', Rimmel Stay Matte powder in 'Transparent', MAC Fix+

For the past month I've really been trying to clear out my stash of unused products - mainly bath and body products and a good few shampoos and conditioners. I'm actually kind of bored of experimenting with these things as I know what I like and what works for me and anything that I don't love, I want to get rid of.

The Lee Stafford products were all bought at the same time as part of a 3 for 2 deal in Boots. Lee Stafford doesn't really appeal to me any more - the violet shampoo was great when I was blonde but now the heavy, artificial lavender smell just makes me feel sick and the products don't do all that much for me. As far as making my hair grow these conditioners did nothing, they weren't even that good at providing moisture to my fried hair. So, I won't be repurchasing any of these.

I've seen the Rituals shower gel (which I received in my Christmas Glossybox) in a good few empties posts of late, I find it so funny that all bloggers get the same products at the same time and use them up around the same time too! Once again I won't be repurchasing as I prefer Lush or Soap and Glory for shower gels. This one is unique as it's actually a foam - it's basically the same consistency as shaving foam. I did use this while I shaved thinking it'd be really nice and moisturising but sadly this was not the case. The scent didn't appeal to me either, I prefer the sickly sweetness of Lush's Snow Fairy!

There is still a bit of product left in my Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder but it's just annoying to have to try and scrape around the edge so I'll give it one more swipe tomorrow and then it's going in the bin. I love this powder - it's cheap, cheerful and it does the job, and I've already bought a back-up.

This is the third Collection Lasting Perfection concealer I've used up and it's a firm favourite of mine (and everyone else's in the beauty community!) I bought this after hearing the lovely Leanne rave about it and haven't looked back! And yes, I have a back-up in my stores.

There is definitely still a couple more sprays left in the MAC Fix+ bottle but I wanted to include it anyway. I bought this about a year ago in the airport so it was a bit cheaper than the standard €16.50 (I think). It's an ok product but I'm not sure if I'm interested in buying again as the spray nozzle irritates me so much. It's not a nice wide mist but more of a very directional squirt. For toning down an overly powdery look I think I'm going to try the Avène Eau Thermale or a similar product by Vichy or LRP. Does anyone else have this problem with Fix+? I thought maybe I'd gotten a dud as everyone seems to love it so much!

Once again, I'd really love to hear your opinions about any of the products I've mentioned. I'm so grateful for every comment I receive! To counteract today's rather negative post I'm thinking about doing a 'Top 5 Most Reached For'-esque series so keep your eyes peeled for that over the next week :) x